“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it,” Atticus Finch told Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. But now, that important lesson for youth is being banned from a Mississippi school because the book uses the N-word in the text.
The Clarion-Ledger reported Friday that The Biloxi School District has pulled the book from the lesson plan for 8th graders.
“There were complaints about it. There is some language in the book that makes people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books,” school district VP Kenny Holloway said. “It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book in the 8th grade course.”
Superintendent Arthur McMillan said in a statement that there are other options that can teach the same message.
“There are many resources and materials that are available to teach state academic standards to our students. These resources may change periodically. We always strive to do what is best for our students and staff to continue to perform at the highest level,” the statement read.
The Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper ran letters to the editor in response to the decision.
“I think it is one of the most disturbing examples of censorship I have ever heard, in that the themes in the story humanize all people regardless of their social status, education level, intellect, and of course, race,” one reader explained. “It would be difficult to find a time when it was more relevant than in days like these.”
The story has been read in schools for years as a means of teaching students about the racism in The South and how many were wrongfully accused and lost their lives solely based on that racism. Another school in Virginia also pulled the book last year after parents complained.